Liberal-leaning states, from New York to California, are ending indoor mask mandates.
As the New York Times reports, “the cascade of recent mask announcements seemed to stem from conversations that took place within the National Governors Association, and a recent meeting with the White House.”
At the same time, the COVID-19 death rate had grown from December 2021 through the end of January at a rate far higher than other wealthy nations. Based on data through January 31, 2022, the U.S. death rate is 63% worse than the average of these countries, including Belgium, Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
Likewise, the share of the population that is fully vaccinated lags all of these countries.
“Death rates are so high in the States — eye-wateringly high,” Devi Sridhar, head of the global public health program at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, told the Times.
Data from the CDC shows that the number of daily deaths is continuing to grow, and it is the highest since its peak in January and February of 2021.
Nevertheless, governors across the country are calling to end statewide mask mandates, giving cities the discretion to require masks indoors.
States are relying on data showing a drop in cases and hospitalizations, however CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Reuters “now is not the moment” to drop mask mandates in schools and other public places. “We have and continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission – that is essentially everywhere in the country in public indoor settings,” Walensky said.